More than five thousand years ago, Icelandic volcano on the southern part of the island, erupted. They erupted for a long time. It could have been months, maybe even years. The effusive eruption formed a lava field the size of Barcelona. Hundreds of smaller and bigger lava tubes formed there as well.
Raufarhólshellir – in Icelandic it means “crack-hill-cave” – is one of them. And the biggest one. Lava caves form when the lava, that is pouring out of the cater, forms a river and then starts to pour down the floor while crusting from the outside. Days or months of that process make the multi-layered crust of solidified lava. When the eruption stops and magma drains out of the tube – we are left with an empty space.
I have seen it in the sun, in the dark, in the snow and rain. The three skylights, the huge openings in the roof, formed when everything was cooling down, contracting and breaking. The cave changes with every minute.
When I went to the tube after one of the most violent snowstorms in the history of Iceland – that happened in early December 2019 – I saw the amount of snow I have never seen before in my life. Especially under the skylights, magnificent “snow-cones” formed, looking like some kind of magical creatures – it almost looked like the cave was alive.
So I spent hours photographing these changes. I hope you’ll enjoy seeing this amazing proof, that Iceland deserves to be called “The Land of Ice and Fire”.
When the sun touches wet rocks down in the cave the vapor makes it look like it’s still on fire
Red color of the rocks is the effect of oxidation of the iron that lava contains
Fresh, untouched snow, after one of the most violent snowstorms in the history of Iceland
It was only 4 P.M. but in December, Iceland is drowning in darkness for almost 20 hours per day
Magnificent snow-cones formed under skylights
After a couple of weeks they started to look like some magical creatures
Majestic and proud
When the snow is coming through the openings in the roof it feels like we are in a snow-ball
“The river of light” made by the headlamps used by people visiting the tube
A snake of light crawling in the tube
And then the sun kicks in, and we are in a winter wonderland
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